On April 20, 2020, President Trump addressed the nation on immigration issues that will affect your lives directly. President Trump signed an executive order on temporarily blocking the issuance of green cards to those outside the United States. There are many exceptions which makes the Executive order more confusing.
Let’s recap what happened that caused some confusion. First, Donald Trump announced that he would STOP immigration at the press conference. Later, the White House unveiled some vague details about his executive order. Finally, the actual executive order was published for all to see, so we can now interpret what it means.
Needless to say, these executive orders have been quite an emotional roller coaster for those who were applying for a work visa in the US, as well as for Green Card applicants. It seemed possible that the immigration visa processes were going to be stopped entirely. Now that the executive orders have been published, let’s clarify what the order really means.
Full executive order below. Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020
Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.
Sec. 2. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.
(a) The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall apply only to aliens who:
(i) are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;
(ii) do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
(iii) do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
(b) The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
(v) any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
(viii) any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
(ix) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
The executive order above describes a temporary new process to acquire a Green Card. These changes will materially impact US immigration norms in many ways. The main effect of the new executive order is that spouses and minor children of Green Card holders will no longer be able to apply for a Green Card from outside of the US (the only exception for this is theEB-5 Investor Green card application). This includes both adult children and siblings of US Citizens applying from outside of the US. Additionally, the executive order describes the halting of the green card Lottery.
Fortunately, the executive order does not affect all applicants. One will still be able to apply for a Green Card if you are within the US. Which means that spouses and minor children (under 21) of US Citizens can apply if they are already in the US. Also, Temporary Visas, like H1-B or student visas will not be affected; nor will applications for Medical, Nurses, Army or Health Care professionals coming in to help combat COVID-19 be affected.
According to CNN, there had been a rate of 30,000 Green Card application approvals on a monthly basis (approximately 1M annually) — these will be cut severely by this new order and will affect approximately 358,000 Green Card applicants.
The White House announced their plan to reassess this order in 50 days and will determine next steps on whether to extend or finalize the executive order.
As immigrants ourselves, we understand the challenges of immigrating to the US. That’s why it’s important to us to make the Rayo community aware of relevant changes that may impact you, or a loved one’s move. We also specialize in tailoring our financial services to your needs, so you can meet the changing immigration system head-on, and with a friend like Rayo.